Budget Tips, Travel Advice

The Spendthrift’s Guide To Traveling On The Cheap Tip # 3

December 4, 2009 • By

The Spendthrift’s Guide | Back Again With Tips For Cutting Costs While You Travel 

Utilize online tools that will help you to find unadvertised fares

* Compare prices from different airlines by using fare search engines of online travel agencies like Orbitz, Expedia and Travelocity – each of which will email you a ‘fare alert’ for your particular itinerary. This pretty much means that you have to be flexible when it comes to carriers. Never be married to or loyal to any one airline or you will lessen your chances of finding a good deal. Airlines are aware of this trend and to counterbalance this reality, airlines try to match other sale fares offered by their competitors.

* Contact a specific airline’s website directly to book your flight with no booking fees. You will probably have to pay a nominal fee to book a flight by phone but if you do, try calling late (preferably after midnight); usually that is when reservations that have been placed ‘on hold’ that day and not purchased are released.

Airlines have also been known to offer ridiculously low fares on early Saturday morning that can disappear within hours. It is up to the traveler to be vigilant about catching these ‘sneak’  or ‘glitch’ fares.

* Sign up for the airlines’ weekly fare deal emails for cheap fares if you are planning a trip over a long weekend….usually from Thursday to Monday.

* Take advantage of the many online sites like Booking Buddy, Mobissimo, Hotwire,  Kayak, Airfarewatchdog, Sidestep and Yapta which will search online travel agencies and the airlines for the lowest fare offered during your travel dates.

* If you do not currently belong to an airline’s frequent flier program, please sign up now. Especially with the airline with whom you will be booking your international trip. The programs are free and while they are now cutting back on opportunities to earn miles, they are still a great way to earn free flights over time. Despite the troubles that airlines are currently experiencing, it will be to your advantage to take these free miles whenever the opportunity arises. You could potentially earn 10k or more miles if you fly to Paris and it only takes about 25k miles to earn a free domestic ticket! For some of the most insightful information about making the most of your airline (and hotel!) loyalty programs, check out Unroad Warrior

Since you will never know where your deals may come from, go ahead and sign up with all of the major airlines FF programs. When you book your flight, make sure that you key in your FF number so that you will get credit for it.

****Please note that if the price continues to rise with each successive visit to any of the above mentioned websites, it’s because they are probably using cookies to track your trip. Be sure to close your window and clear your cache/cookies then open a new window and start your search over again.***

Do you have any tried and true methods of getting the best airfare deal? Please share your tips in comments!

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